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Key Takeaways:

  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are a great duo because together they cover many popular bonus categories, like travel, dining, drugstores, streaming and online groceries.
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited is best for everyday expenses, especially drugstore purchases.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is best for dining and Chase travel purchases and redemptions—points are worth 25% more when redeemed for Chase Travel℠.

Chase credit cards are very popular, partly because Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are valuable and can be used in many ways. When it comes to Chase cards, two cards make the perfect spending pair: the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is great for its low-effort cash-back earning power, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers stacked travel rewards potential.

If you’re looking to earn cash back on everyday expenses and travel, and then ice the cake with the increased redemption strength of the Chase Travel℠ portal, read on to learn why the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited make the perfect duo to help you maximize your rewards.

Card Sign-Up Bonus Rewards Rate Annual Fee Best For Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

75,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,725 (75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

1x- 5xPoints More Info

Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

$95
  • Chase Travel℠
  • Dining
  • Streaming
  • Online groceries

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

1.5%Extra Cash Back More Info

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

1.5% - 5%Cashback More Info

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

$0
  • Drugstore purchases and everything else
  • Transfer your points to Sapphire Preferred for more value

Now let's look at the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s features and see how these two cards complement one another. 

Why the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred Cards Make a Great Combo

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Combining these cards not only accelerates the rate at which you earn valuable travel rewards in a variety of spend categories you can use later for free flights and hotels, but you end up paying only one annual fee since the Chase Freedom Unlimited does not carry one.

Here are three good reasons why you should have both a Chase Freedom Unlimited and a Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

1. You’ll Earn More Bonus Points in More Categories

One big reason why the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards make a good match is that they complement one another in offering distinctive bonus categories.

With a broad list of everyday bonus categories, cardholders are guaranteed a minimum earning rate of 1.5x points per dollar on every purchase. And since Chase Ultimate Rewards points are by and large worth around 2 cents each, the 1.5% cash back on all non-bonus spending results in a value of 1.5x points per dollar spent, which is a minimum of 3% return on your spending with these two cards.

2. You Can Increase the Value of Your Points

When you pair a cash back card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom FlexSM with a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, the cash back earned from a Chase Freedom card can be converted and combined to form valuable points that can be redeemed for travel. Once the points have been combined, you can then redeem them by transferring them to one of Chase’s numerous transfer partners—such as United, Hyatt or British Airways—and book your travel.

By transferring cash back earned from the Chase Freedom Unlimited to your Chase Sapphire Preferred account, your points are worth 25% more when redeemed for Chase Travel℠. You can get even more value out of your points by transferring them at a 1:1 ratio to transfer partners for a potentially higher gain. 

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3. You’ll Pay Only One Annual Fee

These two cards aren’t just strong earners together; they're compatible in other ways. Both deliver excellent bonus categories and many complementary ways to use your points, but best of all—you’re only on the hook for one annual fee of $95. 

There are several no-annual-fee credit cards that earn more than 1.5% cash back on all purchases. But being able to convert cash back into valuable Ultimate Rewards points for outstanding travel redemptions is why these two cards make an ideal pair when teamed up.

Before You Apply: Chase's 5/24 Rule

Before jumping into an application for the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, be aware of Chase’s 5/24 rule. Chase has stringent application guidelines on who can or can't be approved for one of their cards.

To put it simply, Chase has an unpublicized rule that states you can't have applied for five credit card accounts (or more) in the last 24 months, or your application for new credit will almost certainly be denied (with a few exceptions). Keep this rule in mind when timing your application.

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When to Use the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Preferred complement one another to amass Ultimate Rewards points and maximize your earning potential. 

Here’s a look at some of the best times to use the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  • For everyday cash-back earning: You can’t go wrong with either card, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on other purchases.
  • For maximizing travel redemptions: The Chase Sapphire Preferred nets you a little extra on points when you book travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal.
  • For taking advantage of an interest-free period: The Chase Freedom Unlimited has 0% Intro APR for 15 months followed by 20.49% - 29.24% (Variable) APR that can help you pay down a bigger bill without getting hit with interest charges.
  • For shopping overseas: The Chase Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees.

On top of all that, the Chase Sapphire Preferred's generous sign-up bonus can help you hit the ground running in accruing Ultimate Rewards points. Plus, the Ultimate Rewards program provides the flexibility to convert cash back earned from the Chase Freedom Unlimited into valuable travel rewards points—when combined with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred—making this the ultimate credit card pair.

Recommended Travel Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

75,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,725 (75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

50,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $700 (50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)

$69 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

$200Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

$0 1% - 5%Cashback More Info

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Special Travel Offer: Earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi Travel℠ portal through 6/30/2025.

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

70,000Citi ThankYou® Points More Info

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com. Dollar Equivalent: $1,260 (70,000 Citi ThankYou® Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1X-10XPoints More Info

10x on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked through CitiTravel.com 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Restaurants 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Supermarkets 3x -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on Gas and EV Charging Stations 1x -- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on All Other Purchases

JR

Juan Ruiz

Juan has been writing and editing stories involving credit cards, loyalty programs, travel, and personal finance topics for more than 10 years. In addition to working and contributing to a number of outlets including The Points Guy, Forbes, and Business Insider, Juan was recently the editor-in-chief at Money Under 30, where he led a team of personal finance journalists. He is also an adjunct professor at Florida International University and a licensed real estate professional.